NYBC lab receives grant to develop MERS-CoV vaccine

The New York Blood Center, a community-based blood center, announced on Monday that it received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue developing a vaccine for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

The NYBC's Laboratory of Viral Immunology at its Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute will receive more than $400,000 to support the development of a vaccine to protect against one of the world's most dangerous emerging viruses. Lanying Du, the co-head of the laboratory, received the grant on behalf of the NYBC.

MERS-CoV is a novel coronavirus causing severe acute respiratory syndrome-like illness in Europe and the Middle East. According to the World Health Organization, there were 177 laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease through January 3, including 74 deaths. The mortality rate for the disease, which is able to transmit between humans, is 42 percent.

The Obama Administration designated MERS-CoV as a public health and national security threat, authorizing the fast-tracking of approvals for tests and treatments for MERS-CoV.

NYBC used its previous experience in developing SARS vaccines to identify the receptor-binding domain and major neutralizing epitope that can be used to develop a vaccine against MERS-CoV. The more than $400,000 grant will support further development of the MERS-CoV vaccine candidate.

NYBC's LFKRI is committed to furthering research efforts to support the discovery of new blood-related therapies, techniques and products.

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National Institutes of Health

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